After breast cancer surgery, a woman is often left with tight or painful skin and scars on her chest. These soft-tissue restrictions can cause pain and swelling in the chest, shoulder and arm. It may restrict breathing and lung expansion. A woman may also be left with a painful shoulder with shortened range of motion and limited use. The incisions cause the fascial system to constrict and scar. The tightened fascial system can put pressure on the circulation and lymphatic drainage systems, allowing fluid to build up around the incision, in the chest, armpit and arm.
Myofascial Release using gentle pressure and stretch is the treatment of choice for releasing the soft tissue restrictions left after the incision is healed. Once the scar and skin are released from the rib cage, improved breathing and lung expansion are noticed and increased shoulder range of motion and pain-free function are restored. Releasing the pressure that is being applied to the circulation and lymphatic systems will allow the fluid to naturally drain from the swollen areas. Treating these problems when they first occur may prevent the swelling or edema from progressing to Lymphedema, which is a lifelong condition.
Any surgery and healing process can be painful. The gentle whole body approach of Myofascial Release will assist the body in experiencing and maintaining a relaxed and comfortable state. The hands-on techniques assist the mind and body in releasing pain and subconscious holding patterns to allow a relaxed and rested state needed for true complete healing.
Breast reconstruction can occasionally be complicated by soft tissue restrictions that occur as the incisions heal, immediately or years after the breast surgery. Our bodies develop the scar tissue and soft tissue support around the implants in an attempt to stabilize the site. The laying down of this additional soft-tissue support can cause binding of the skin, chest and cause the implant to become hard or stuck down and painful. Myofascial Release is a very effective technique for releasing excessive bands of fascial restrictions, restoring a more normal feel to the breast implants and eliminating the pain.
After the surgery, many women go through chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Both of these treatment approaches can cause pain and an increase in the body's tendency for tightening up. Oncologists often recommended Myofascial Release treatment through the course of these invasive treatments. Myofascial Release will help in maintaining free motion, reduce the pain experienced and assist you in maintaining a sense of wellbeing and healing.
If you are experiencing any pain or loss of function because of breast cancer and related issues, consider trying Myofascial Release and Physical Therapy with me.
You will be pleased with the experience and outcome.
Pelvic pain can come from many causes. Some of the more common causes of pelvic or abdominal pain are menstrual problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), painful or tight surgical scars, pelvic alignment problems, posture problems and muscle weakness. Childbirth, trauma, inflammation and physical abuse or injury can cause the soft tissue of the fascial system to scar or tighten around the organs of the pelvis. This abnormal pressure can cause pain that does not relate to any anatomical pattern and does not show up on specialized medical tests.
The gentle sustained pressure and stretch of Myofascial Release is very effective in releasing the fascial restrictions causing abnormal pressure in the abdomen and elsewhere in the body that may be affecting the pelvic area. Attention to posture and pelvic alignment will ensure a symmetrical framework for the organs and structures in the abdomen. Physical Therapy modalities and manual treatments eliminating muscle spasm in the pelvis, hips and back will reduce pain and relieve holding patterns contributing to the pain.
I have had the opportunity to treat many women who experienced long term pelvic or abdominal pain. They come to me frustrated with the inability of traditional medicine to identify a structure or cause of their pain. Often they believe they may be a hypochondriac because no one can find the source of their pain. Some of them have experienced multiple surgeries, looking for the cause of the pain or to eliminate adhesions and scars that might be causing the pain. Performing surgery to remove adhesions and scars may not be the answer because it can compound the problem by creating more scars.
Through Myofascial Release treatment, we are able to reproduce their pain and then eliminate it. Painful conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome have been improved with Myofascial Release, where no other medical treatment was able to eliminate the pain.
Pain with intercourse can be caused by anything that causes pain in the pelvis. Trauma, scars, posture problems or inflammations can cause fascial system restrictions which cause abnormal pressure or tension in the vagina, pelvic floor muscles and ligaments.
A common cause of pain with intercourse is Pelvic Floor Tension Myalgia, which is muscle spasm and pain in the pelvic floor muscles. Myofascial Release effectively releases the abnormal tension and holding patterns in the soft tissue and muscles. Physical Therapy focusing on posture and alignment of the body and especially the pelvis will create a normal environment to support the muscle and structure involved with intercourse.
Muscle spasm or abnormal tension is also treated with pelvic floor muscle biofeedback. Biofeedback measures and demonstrates muscle tension, and it is useful in retraining muscle to relax and function appropriately.
Myofascial Release can help women with menstrual problems and PMS. Imagine the fascial system wrapped around and through the organs and structure of the body. Because of abnormal posture, trauma and holding patterns, the fascial can put pressure up to 2000 pounds per square inch on the organs it is supporting and protecting.
As a woman begins to bloat during her menstrual cycle, the combination of the fascial tightness and the increasing internal pressure begin to increasing affect the organs, nerves and blood vessels of the pelvis. The cramps, painful back and other unpleasant effects are caused or exaggerated by the abnormal internal pressure.
Urinary incontinence is the inability to stop leakage of urine. Urinary continence requires three components to function correctly. The first component of urine control requires good supportive structures in the pelvis, holding the organs in place and correct alignment. This structure is the fascial system. The second component is the nervous system. It is composed of the nerves to the pelvic muscles and bladder, spinal cord connection to the brain and brain. All must be working effectively and efficiently. The brain must be able to orchestrate the muscles of the pelvic floor and bladder to work in harmony with each other. The third component of continence requires that the muscles of the pelvic floor be strong and functioning correctly.
Pelvic floor dysfunction, which is weakness or poor control of the pelvic floor muscle, is often treated by a Physical Therapist specializing in treating Pelvic Floor muscle problems. Treatment focuses on identifying the pelvic floor muscles, insuring a woman is able to contract the muscle correctly and independently, which is the Kegel exercise. Too often a woman is performing the Kegel exercise incorrectly, or not using the correct muscles at the right time. Advanced training involves incorporating a Pelvic Floor muscle contraction with other abdominal support muscles to be used during functional activities. The use of Biofeedback is helpful in identifying the correct muscles and learning how to strengthen them.
Another cause of incontinence can be fascial restrictions in the pelvis or surrounding structures from trauma or inflammatory processes, such as endometriosis. These restrictions twist and bind around the structure of the pelvis and place abnormally high pressure on the structures and organs of the pelvis, including the bladder and urethral areas. These restrictions can alter the alignment of the urinary system, can impede the proper elimination of toxins and waste products from the tissue and can contribute to incontinence. Excessive pressure on the bladder can contribute to bladder irritability and will restrict the bladder from fully expanding. Bladder irritability and hypertonicity is often called overactive bladder.
Myofascial Release to address soft tissue restrictions will release the abnormal pressure on the urinary system structures and allow for normal flow through the system.
Myofascial Release combined with Biofeedback, Pelvic Floor Muscle training and Pelvic electric stimulation are very effective at eliminating bladder irritability and restoring normal continence.